“A picture is worth a thousand words!” I have heard this phrase many times in my life and I do agree with it. For example, I can remember having a picture made of myself several years ago and I didn’t really like it. I can remember Bill’s dad saying, “Well you better like it, ’cause it looks exactly like you!” I stopped and thought a minute. He was right. It was me, exactly me. I looked at what I didn’t like about the picture of myself and set out to make a few changes. Pictures tell us many things. We just have to have the “eyes” to see.
Just a week ago, Bill took a video of Thomas hitting the ball while in competition and Thomas sent it to his swing coach. After the round, Thomas was able to get feedback on a minor problem that he couldn’t see himself. The end result was that Thomas made the change and, wow, his swing immediately got better, a whole lot better. The point of this story is that many times we are not able to “see” what we need to see. It takes a picture, or someone to be invited in, to put a different set of eyes on what we can’t see for ourselves. At first we may not like what we see, or what someone else sees, but, if we have an open mind and heart and are true to ourselves, then we may be able to make changes that will truly benefit us personally.
In the past I have written about Christian counseling. I would like to elaborate on why. First of all, I want anyone to know, it is one of the very best decisions I have ever made in my life. Second, I have chosen to write and talk about it because there is still this “unspoken” stigma out there that if you see a counselor, then you must really be “messed up!” Now that I am in the “Back 9” of life, it is my strong opinion that if more people would look in the mirror, put down their pride and seek “another set of eyes,” then they just may be able to get out of the rut they find themselves in. What I find instead is that most people keep the mindset that they will just keep going. Whatever they are facing will just get better in time, or they think, “I can handle this!”
Let me say here, and be very clear, the best “Counselor” is the “Holy Spirit”. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology, let me explain who the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is God. For Christians, the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity–God, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The minute you invite Jesus into your life, you receive the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell inside of you. In John 14:15-16 Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” In John 16:13 Jesus continues to teach, “But when he [Holy Spirit], the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
Sharing my view hopefully helps you understand why I would only recommend a Christian counselor. They practice knowing that God, the Bible, and prayer are where “truth” reside. A very good Christian counselor is a professional who puts God above themselves. They listen intently. They then direct your attention to Scripture and prayer to help you examine your dilemma through the eyes of Scripture as it applies to your life. They pose questions that are self-examining and that reveal areas that, most of the time, you are blind to or you know are there but are choosing not to “see”. Accountability is provided. Counseling provides a place of privacy and safety where you can “unpack” your life and have a light shined on areas that need “help!” As I have gone through this process, I have been UTTERLY AMAZED at how God has used my willingness to be vulnerable. I have not only received tremendous help and growth, but have been able to turn around and help countless others.
Thomas sending a video of himself to a “professional set of eyes,” inviting someone else to see what he himself could not see, enabled him to get the help needed to improve his swing. Seeing a picture of myself that I didn’t like allowed me to make some changes.
The thought I would like to leave with you is this—just like the picture of me or the video of Thomas helped, seeking the opinions of others can help. They should be people of wisdom and people who have earned the right to have a voice in your life. BUT this can be dangerous as well. Most people, if they are your friends, have great intentions and want to help. Often they do not have the time, because of the busyness of their own lives, to intentionally and carefully listen to see things for what they really are. MOST IMPORTANTLY, they may lack the PROFESSIONAL training in countless areas like addictions, grief, mental illness, abuse, etc.
If you find yourself in a “ditch” or a “deep dark hole,” there is help-if you are willing to take a step of faith, kick your pride to the curb, and make the time to seek change. Seeking “another set of eyes” to lend a hand, with God as the center, can definitely put you back in the middle of the “fairway of life” and give you a clear shot to the “greens of life.”